What is hyperpigmentation?

Speckles, freckles and sometimes unwanted blemishes. Otherwise known as hyperpigmentation, or nature very much doing its thing in terms of protecting your sensational skin from the sun’s harmful rays. And in her own way, nature is a talented artist popping the finishing touches or beauty spots just where we like them. Or, on the other hand, sometimes going slightly off-piste and making her mark just where we don’t want her to. Hyperpigmentation is light brown to black skin spots or patches appearing in any shape or size, in clusters or solo. They’re very common and are mostly harmless.

Woman applying face cream

What causes hyperpigmentation?

Skin hyperpigmentation is a great example of our clever human bodies working with nature. Our skin’s genius has developed alongside the sun – sounds out there, but it’s true. We have clever skin cells called melanocytes designed to produce melanin (a skin pigment that ranges in colour from dark brown to black) which absorbs and scatters the sun’s UV rays to protect skin cells. That’s why people who’ve lived in sunnier climates for generations sometimes have darker skin than those who’ve lived in cooler climates. When any of us are directly in the sunshine, our melanocytes can multiply and distribute unevenly and create what we know as hyperpigmentation or darker spots and patches on our skin.

What are the characteristics of hyperpigmentation?


Sun spots are the most common type of hyperpigmentation. We know these are caused by the body’s natural defence when we over-expose it to the sun’s harmful UV rays, but what do they look like? They tend to appear on the parts of your body that see the sun the most, so your face and hands mostly. They can be black, brown or grey and show mostly as freckles or splodges.


This is when skin changes colour anywhere on your body after damage such a wound, a rash or sometimes acne. That’s because melanin is produced when skin is healing and overproduction can form patches of a different skin colour, ranging from white, pink to red, purple, brown, or black, depending on your skin tone. Always see your doctor if you have any concerns.

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Melasma is another type of hyperpigmentation where your skin responds to hormonal changes in your body. It tends to be more common in women, quite often during pregnancy or if you’re using hormone based contraception. Here skin tends to form patches of black or brown on the face or sometimes your tummy. Do talk to a doctor or dermatologist if you’re worried.

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Skin Defence The Body Shop

Help prevent future hyperpigmentation

So, what do we need to do if we want to avoid hyperpigmentation of the unwanted variety? The most common cause of new dark spots or patches on our face tends to be over-exposure to the sunshine, either when it’s at its hottest or when we spend lengthy periods in it. But sunflowers panic not, we don’t want to avoid daylight or the vitamin D it provides us altogether. But we do need to enjoy it while staying out of direct contact with it when it’s at its strongest. It’s good news for hat lovers, the bigger the better – create your own personal parasol to provide your visage with constant shade and cover up your limbs as much as possible. It’s also good sense to try and enjoy the sunshine before 10am or after 4pm, when UV rays are less powerful. Naturally, always use a sunscreen with a SPF 30 to 50. It’s the most constant way to help protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays and give our hard-working melanocytes a break.

Top recommendations

The Body Shop Drops of Light products

For a more luminous and even skin

So, we know how to behave sensibly in the sunshine. Let’s look at how best to look after skin where hyperpigmentation may have come home to roost. You could try our angelic skincare range called Drop of Light™, infused with North Atlantic red algae, helping your skin feel plumped with moisture and ready to set your inner and outer radiance free.

Drops of Light™ Brightening Cleansing Foam is a great way to start the day the pure and simple way. Massage on with a splash of water and feel its rich creamy lather help purify and cleanse the skin. It’s so gentle it won’t over-dry or strip the skin of precious moisture. Now you’ve got a beautifully clean palette you could try Drops of Light™ Brightening Essence Lotion. It’s a wonderful gel-to-water toner that helps to even out skin tone and helps prep the skin to gratefully receive radiance-enhancing moisture.

Enter Drops Of Light™ Brightening Serum, this little beauty is particularly helpful to skin that’s wanting to get more of an even skin tone. The wonder of serum is that it’s made up of smaller molecules to help get deeper into the skin so it feels moisturised, suppler and softer. It has a lovely light texture that helps skin feel refreshed and look more luminous. There’s a lot to love in this serene pot.

And now it’s the turn of Drops of Light™ Brightening Day Cream to delight your skin with a gentle yet super-smart splurge of hydration – talking to your skin tone in ways it understands. This lightweight yet nourishing day cream helps skin appear brighter and healthier – as though your skin tone has evened itself out somewhat. It’s a life affirming credit to the power of the range’s naturally inspired radiance-inducing formula.

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The Body Shop Vitamin C products

Get your glow back

If you feel like your speckles are messing with your radiance, try giving your glow a boost with our Vitamin C skincare range. The Vitamin C range is a said to be a powerhouse when it comes to getting skin cells up to shine forth. One of our brightest stars is Vitamin C Glow-Protect Lotion SPF30. It’s a triple whammy where moisture, sun protection and glow meet in perfect harmony to help soften, smooth and go-go-go your glow.

If you feel like your skin’s got a sulk on you could try our specialist smooth talker – Vitamin C Skin Reviver Instant Smoother. This sheen machine has light-reflective particles which helps inspire dull and grumpy skin to sparkle forth. And for that winning ‘I’ve arrived’ radiance, try our Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser, infused with vitamin C rich camu camu from the Amazonian rainforest in Peru. It helps the skin to feel hydrated, awakened and energised, so you can go forth and shine with immediate effect.

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The Body Shop Skin Defence

Daily moisturiser with SPF

Skin Defence Multi-Protection Lotion SPF 50 + PA++++

Every smiley face needs to wise up to our friend the sunshine. With all the good stuff it brings, also come UVA and UVB (ultra violet short and long rays) and these are not our skin’s ally whether you're worried about hyperpigmentation or not. But our Skin Defence Multi-Protection Lotion SPF 50 + PA++++ certainly is. It’s dreamy all-round best buddy to your gorgeous mug even if you have sensitive skin – a great daily moisturiser with high sun protection, enriched with red algae that’s high in vitamin C. Helping set your luminosity free while staying on guard against the sun’s darker side.

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Hands scooping The Body Shop Vitamin C Moisturiser

"Absolutely love this product, I suffer from hyperpigmentation and recently, a dull complexion, but this product made my skin look brighter, glowy and well rested."

– Thehonesttruth

About Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser

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Make up on counter

How to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation on the face?

Does your inner-strength need a little boost from your outer-strength without calling in the heavy duty makeup mob? If so, we have a couple of delightful products that’ll make light work of evening out your skin tone with some natural colour blending.

First up our magnificent Instaglow CC Cream SPF 20 PA+++ , in case you’re new to CC it means ‘colour correcting’ and this nifty little number works hard to do all the things hyperpigmented skin needs the most. It helps provide up to 24 hours of moisture, minimises the appearance of pores and marvels you with a healthy looking glow. All while providing you with some SPF 20. It comes in three gorgeous skin shades and can do the whole skin tone blending job on its own or work as a primer for your foundation. We love a multi-tasker!

Standing next in the line of duty comes our Fresh Nude BB Cream SPF 30 PA+++, otherwise known as a ‘beauty balm’. This naturally inspired balm comes in five skin tones and blends in with your natural skin tone beautifully. Light in texture with a sheen that hydrates your skin for 24 hours, it’s a winner when it comes to that even-looking, fresh-faced luminous glow. It’s super easy to use and you can pop it in your bag and take it anywhere. Happy sunny days.